Google wasn't the first to play god on street-level. At least, according to Pasadena company Vederi LLC, who is suing the Internet giant for infringing on five of its patents, which created a system for "creating, storing and utilizing images of a geographic location."
The company was founded by Enrico Di Bernardo and Luis Goncalves, two Caltech grads with PhDs who originally posted their street-view technology to the City of Pasadena website in 2000.
According to Enhanced Online News:
In 2000, when Luis was looking for a new apartment and wanted to know about different neighborhoods, they conceived of the idea to build a system to let Internet users look at street-level views of neighborhoods. ... Luis and Enrico drove around Pasadena in Enrico's personal car, with a camera mounted on top of the car, collecting images and corresponding GPS coordinates for their first system, the ScoutTool, later renamed the StreetBrowser.
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Google is more used to privacy-infringement lawsuits, or ridiculous ones like Utah woman Lauren Rosenberg's May claim, in which she sued Google for giving her bad walking directions (causing her to be hit by a car).
Although Vederi's StreetBrowser technology covered a fraction of the area that Google Maps allows us to navigate -- and who really wants to navigate Pasadena, anyway -- the software did far predate Street View, which wasn't introduced until May 2007.
However, the sluggish patent application process might complicate things: Litigation council David Dillard explained that while Vederi filed its first application in 2001, three of five patents have only been approved in the last year or so, and the fifth is still pending.
Veredi will be represented by tech-savvy law firm Christie, Parker & Hale at the L.A. Federal Court.